Saudi holdings of US Treasury bonds hit 9-month high with $117bn in September

Saudi holdings of US Treasury bonds hit 9-month high with $117bn in September
This notable increase, which marks a nine-month high for the Kingdom, has propelled the region to the 17th spot among the largest holders of US Treasury bonds as of September. Shutterstock
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Updated 19 November 2023
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Saudi holdings of US Treasury bonds hit 9-month high with $117bn in September

Saudi holdings of US Treasury bonds hit 9-month high with $117bn in September

RIYADH: Saudi holdings of US Treasury bonds reached $117.1 billion in September, up from $112 billion in August, further elevating its position in the global financial market.  

This notable increase, which marks a nine-month high for the Kingdom, has propelled the region to the 17th spot among the largest holders of US Treasury bonds as of September.  

A closer look at the investment distribution reveals a strategic focus, with $102.1 billion, or 87 percent of the total investment, allocated to long-term bonds.  

Meanwhile, short-term bonds accounted for $15 billion, comprising 13 percent of the Kingdom’s US Treasury bond investments.    

This move signifies Saudi Arabia’s growing influence in international financial markets, highlighting a keen understanding of leveraging sovereign wealth to secure and strengthen the Kingdom’s global economic position.  

Moreover, Saudi Arabia is the only Arab and Middle Eastern country among the top 20 major holders of US Treasury securities. 

The Kingdom held the 18th spot in July, experiencing a 1 percent increase after a three-month decline, reaching $109.2 billion.  

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia sustained its growth trajectory in October with a $3 billion increase compared to the previous month. 

At the top of the list, Japan reached $1.08 trillion in September, reflecting a steep decline compared to the $1.11 trillion recorded the previous month.  

China followed suit with $778 billion during the month, also marking a decrease from $805 billion in October.  

The UK secured the third spot, experiencing a decline from $698 billion in October to $668.9 billion in September.  

Furthermore, South Korea, in the 18th spot, observed a decrease from $117.8 billion in October to $112.9 billion in September. 

Germany followed, with an increase from $96.4 billion in October to $102.3 billion in September.  

Bermuda secured the last position with $88.5 billion in September, compared to $86.9 billion the month before. 

The total foreign treasury holders reached $7.6 trillion in September, marking a decrease from $7.7 trillion the previous month. 

In the last month, Saudi Arabia’s central bank reported a decrease in foreign security investments, recording an 11.5 percent year-on-year drop in September, amounting to SR997.9 billion ($266 billion). 


Global air transport event kicks off in Riyadh

Global air transport event kicks off in Riyadh
Updated 21 sec ago
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Global air transport event kicks off in Riyadh

Global air transport event kicks off in Riyadh

RIYADH: Representatives from over 100 countries and multinational organizations will assemble in Riyadh for the 15th International Conference on Air Services Negotiations, focusing on enhancing aviation for improved global transport. 

Beginning Dec. 3, the five-day event will attract over 700 civil aviation experts and specialists. 

The ICAN2023 Conference, recognized as the foremost international event in its category, is dedicated to aligning with the swift advancements in the global air transport industry, as reported by the Saudi Press Agency. 

Negotiations and discussions between delegations from different nations are set to take place on both bilateral and multilateral fronts. Moreover, the participants are expected to actively support the establishment of connections between regulatory bodies, air operators, and other relevant service providers. 


GACA, MISA and Brazil’s Embraer sign MoU to propel aviation sector investment

GACA, MISA and Brazil’s Embraer sign MoU to propel aviation sector investment
Updated 15 min 56 sec ago
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GACA, MISA and Brazil’s Embraer sign MoU to propel aviation sector investment

GACA, MISA and Brazil’s Embraer sign MoU to propel aviation sector investment

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to stay abreast of the latest developments in sustainability and innovation through a new agreement signed by the General Authority of Civil Aviation. 

The memorandum of understanding, inked with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Investment and Brazilian multinational aerospace corporation Embraer, aims to bolster cooperation in aviation sector investments, as stated in an official release.

This initiative aligns with Saudi Arabia’s ambition to become a leader in the regional aviation sector within the next decade. It also supports the Gulf country’s broader efforts to elevate the aviation sector and achieve its target of attracting 150 million visitors by 2030, up from the initial goal of 100 million.


Rising human activity threatens space sustainability, warn experts at COP28

Rising human activity threatens space sustainability, warn experts at COP28
Updated 31 min 52 sec ago
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Rising human activity threatens space sustainability, warn experts at COP28

Rising human activity threatens space sustainability, warn experts at COP28

DUBAI: A threat to space sustainability has been underscored by experts at COP28 in Dubai, shedding light on the escalating impact of increased human activity. 

During a panel on “Sustainability in Space,” the speakers noted that while space exploration programs were traditionally exclusively led by governments, the entry of the private sector has added complexity to the situation, with a significantly increased number of satellites being launched each year. 

Bruce Carnegie-Brown, chairman, of LIoyd’s of London, a leading insurance firm, said: “We have seen some 9,000 satellites now in Low Earth Orbit, and that has doubled just in the last two years. So, the risks are going up, the frequency of potential collisions is going up, and the debris as a result is hugely on the rise.”  

He added: “We need to put in place things at the outset that force people to clean up after themselves, rather than think about it as an afterthought.”  

According to Nick Shave, CEO of Astroscale, a British space firm, the problem is even more severe. “There are 40,000 objects in space that are anything bigger than about a grapefruit. As you can see, there’s quite a difference in those numbers. And that’s because there’s a lot of fragmentation. We’ve seen different pieces of debris or debris and satellites hit each other and create fragmentation,” Shave explained. 

The increasing incidents of space collisions are even more concerning as the debris simply stays in orbit for decades or even longer, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to remove, warned another expert. 

“If you are in the ocean, or you’re on land or in the air, if something breaks, it kind of comes down, and then you can easily pick it up. If something breaks in space, it’s up there for hundreds of years,” said Robbie Schingler, founder of Planet Labs PBC. 

However, experts added that technologies were being developed to solve the problem. “There are a number of companies, including my company Astroscale, developing what we call active debris removal technology,” said Shave.  

He explained that these technologies go into orbit to assess the debris up close, capture it with robotics or other technologies, bring it down into a lower orbit, and dispose of it in the Earth’s atmosphere.  

Shave added: “There are other ways we are looking to dispose of that forward. So, there are a number of technologies that we’re in the technology proving phase at the moment.” 

Even astronauts, who are currently the only inhabitants of space, believe that more — much more — should be done to protect space. 

“When I am asked about whether I, we are, part of the problem or part of the solution to anthropogenic climate change, I want to be guilty of nothing more than being an ambassador for sustainability. What more can we do? What more should we do to show, not merely say, that our sector is doing to space sustainability for a sustainable Earth?” said Meganne Christian, reserve astronaut and exploration commercialization lead at the UK Space Agency. 

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Startup Wrap – Saudi Arabia’s venture landscape receives influx of expanding startups

Startup Wrap – Saudi Arabia’s venture landscape receives influx of expanding startups
Updated 03 December 2023
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Startup Wrap – Saudi Arabia’s venture landscape receives influx of expanding startups

Startup Wrap – Saudi Arabia’s venture landscape receives influx of expanding startups

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s entrepreneurial space is getting bigger with more startups raising funding and others expanding into the Kingdom.

On the funding announcement front, Saudi-based business-to-business e-commerce startup Retailo has successfully raised $15 million in a new equity funding round, drawing the attention of both new and returning investors.  

The investor lineup includes Yusuf Bin Kanoo Group, Technology Group, and Majd Digital, alongside previous backers including Aujan Group Holdings, Shorooq Partners, Abercross Holdings, and Graphene Ventures, among others. 

Co-founded in 2020 by Talha Ansari, Wahaj Ahmed, and Mohammad Nowkhaiz, Retailo offers a next-day delivery service for retailers and restaurants, boasting a catalog of over 5,000 stock-keeping units.  

This recent capital infusion marks another significant milestone for the company, following its $36 million series A funding last year, which was a combination of equity and venture debt. 

Retailo’s growth strategy focuses on expanding both its supplier network and customer base. The fresh funds are earmarked to support this expansion within the Saudi market, reinforcing the company’s position as a key player in the region’s e-commerce landscape. 

Adding to its achievements, Retailo has also established several strategic partnerships, including a technology distribution collaboration with Dtonic, a South Korean data solution company.  

This alliance will empower Retailo’s technology by enhancing its service offerings and operational efficiency. 

UAE’s fintech Yabi raises $8m to boost Saudi expansion 

UAE-based fintech startup Yabi has secured an $8 million equity funding round, signifying a major step in its journey towards Saudi expansion and product development.  

The round saw the participation of Al Wafra Al Thanya, joining an array of existing investors in supporting Yabi’s growth. 

This milestone follows closely on the heels of Yabi’s recent foray into the Saudi market, marking an expansion beyond its UAE base.  

Since its launch in the middle of this year, Yabi has been aiming to enhance financial literacy across regional markets. It achieves this through strategic B2B partnerships, integrating its services into employee well-being programs offered by corporate clients. 

Founded by Ambareen Musa, Yabi has rapidly established a client portfolio including prominent entities like Al-Futtaim, Careem, Chalhoub, and Al Ghurair.  

The fresh injection of capital will be instrumental in fueling Yabi’s continued growth. It plans to invest significantly in product development, aiming to bring financial solutions to a broader audience. 

Additionally, the funds will bolster Yabi’s efforts in accelerating its expansion across the Middle East, as it seeks to establish a stronger foothold in key regional markets. 

Oman’s food technology firm KitchenomiKs raises $1.8m to enter Saudi market 

Oman-based food technology startup KitchenomiKs has successfully raised $1.8 million in a pre-series A funding round as it aims to expand its regional footprint. 

Founded by Aankush Bhatia, Aju Samuel, and Shrikanth Shenoy, KitchenomiKs operates as a cloud kitchen with a modern culinary model that steers away from traditional physical storefronts.  

The company currently holds a portfolio of 12 food brands, offering a scalable model for culinary ventures without the burdensome overheads associated with physical restaurant spaces. 

The latest round of funding represents a crucial step in KitchenomiKs’ ambitious growth strategy. A key focus of this strategic plan is the launch of operations in Saudi Arabia, slated for early 2024.  

This significant financial boost, contributed by Omani and regional investors, has elevated the company's total funding to an impressive $3.5 million since its inception in 2022. 

UAE-based Immensa raises $20m to boost product development 

UAE-based Immensa has successfully secured $20 million in its series B equity funding round led by Global Ventures. 

The funding round also saw participation from new investors such as Endeavor Catalyst Fund and EDGO, alongside continued support from Energy Capital Group, Shorooq Partners, and Green Coast Investments. 

Founded in 2016 by Fahmi Al-Shawwa, Immensa specializes in providing on-demand access to spare parts, eliminating the need for mass manufacturing in traditional hubs like Southeast Asia, China, or Latin America.  

This approach not only streamlines the production process but also significantly reduces the lead time and costs associated with traditional manufacturing methods. 

The latest round of funding is poised to turbocharge Immensa’s global growth ambitions. Part of the funds will be allocated to enhance its exclusive software, DIS RT, a critical component in Immensa’s operational toolkit.  

Moreover, the investment will also be channeled towards augmenting its artificial intelligence tools, further solidifying the company’s position in the manufacturing sector. 

UAE’s Flow48 raises $25m in pre-series A round 

Flow48, a UAE-based fintech startup, has successfully secured $25 million in pre-series A funding round in a blend of equity and debt. 

Key investors include Speedinvest, Daphni, and 212, as well as Blockchain Founders Fund, Unpopular Ventures, and Endeavor Catalyst.

Founded in 2022 by Idriss Al Rifai, Flow48 provides services to small and medium-sized enterprises by transforming future revenues of SMEs into immediate capital, offering flexible terms that are tailored to support the growth and scalability of these businesses.  

The freshly acquired funds are earmarked to propel Flow48’s ambitious expansion plans, with a specific focus on penetrating the South African market.  

Egyptian startups receive $10k grants from She’s Next competition 

Three Egyptian startups have emerged as top contenders in the second edition of the She’s Next competition, jointly hosted by Visa and Commercial International Bank. 

Each startup has been awarded $10,000 for their solutions in their respective fields. The winners include Green Fashion, a sustainable clothing brand, Reme-D, a health tech startup, and Fincart, an aggregator of shipping services.  

Alongside the monetary prize, the competition also offered mentorship opportunities provided by the US Agency for International Development to the top 20 contestants.  

Tunisia’s Winshot raises six-figure round from 216 capital 

The Tunisia-originated and France-based software-as-a-service startup Winshot has successfully secured a six-figure investment from 216 Capital.  

Established in 2022 by Walid Mzoughi, Alaa Mokrani, Amjed Bouhouch, and Hela Gabsi, Winshot specializes in providing B2B SaaS solutions for retail operations management.  

With this fresh infusion of capital, Winshot is set to bolster its teams in both France and Tunisia, laying a strong foundation for the expansion and growth of its business. 

Middle East Venture Capital Association signs partnerships with Singapore’s GPCA 

The Global Private Capital Association and the Middle East Venture Capital Association announced a significant strategic partnership during Abu Dhabi Finance Week 2023.  

This collaboration will enable GPCA, headquartered in New York and Singapore, to establish a permanent base in the Middle East. This move will be supported by MEVCA and the broader Abu Dhabi and regional ecosystem. 

Members of MEVCA will benefit from an enhanced membership experience, gaining access to GPCA’s extensive global network. 

The partnership focuses on collaboration, innovation, and investment to strengthen the region’s vibrant venture capital landscape through a range of targeted initiatives. 


COP28: 50 oil and gas companies sign charter to accelerate climate action in industrial sector

COP28: 50 oil and gas companies sign charter to accelerate climate action in industrial sector
Updated 03 December 2023
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COP28: 50 oil and gas companies sign charter to accelerate climate action in industrial sector

COP28: 50 oil and gas companies sign charter to accelerate climate action in industrial sector
  • National Oil Companies represented over 60 percent of signatories, the largest-ever number of NOCs to commit to a decarbonisation initiative
  • Signatories have committed to net-zero operations by 2050, ending routine flaring by 2030, and near-zero upstream methane emissions

COP28 Presidency and Saudi Arabia launched the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter (OGDC), a global industry charter aimed at speeding up climate action across the oil and gas sectors.

Officials said 50 oil and gas companies, representing more than 40 percent of global oil production, have signed the charter, reported Emirates News Agency (WAM).

National Oil Companies represented over 60 percent of signatories, the largest-ever number of NOCs to commit to a decarbonisation initiative.

Signatories have committed to net-zero operations by 2050, ending routine flaring by 2030, and near-zero upstream methane emissions.

In a WAM statement, COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber said, “The launch of the charter is a great first step - and whilst many national oil companies have adopted net-zero 2050 targets for the first time, I know that they and others, can and need to do more. We need the entire industry to keep 1.5C within reach and set even stronger ambitions for decarbonisation.”

Under the charter, oil and gas companies also agreed to continue to work towards industry best practices in emission reductions. Some of the key actions they agreed to take included: investing in renewables, low-carbon fuels and negative emissions technologies; reducing energy poverty; and providing secure and affordable energy to support the development of all economies.

Signatories will also work on increasing alignment with broader industry best practices to accelerate decarbonisation of operations and reduce emissions by 2030.

Al-Jaber added that the charter recognized that climate change is “a collective challenge that requires strong and focused action from producers and consumers of energy, fundamental changes across society and the energy sector, as well as international collaboration, to advance the energy transition and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas.”


He stressed that a clear plan is needed to focus efforts on the right direction. “If we want to accelerate progress across the climate agenda, we must bring everyone in to be accountable and responsible for climate action. We must all focus on reducing emissions and apply a positive can-do vision to drive climate action and get everyone to take action.”


The charter was a key initiative under the Global Decarbonisation Accelerator (GDA), which was launched at the COP28 World Climate Action Summit.